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Postwar Japan Collection Holdings

The Gordon W. Prange Collection is the most comprehensive archive in the world of print publications issued in Japan during the first four years of the Allied Occupation, 1945-1949. The Collection is comprised of virtually everything published on all subjects during this period – books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, news agency photographs, posters, maps, ephemera and related archival materials. Produced by commercial publishers as well as grass-roots organizations such as labor unions, farm cooperatives, literary societies, minority populations and schools, these publications capture the mood of Japan during a pivotal period in the nation’s history.

The Collection includes:

  • 71,000 book and pamphlet titles
    (including 1,000 book and pamphlet titles with censorship action taken and 1,500 galley proof fragments)
  • 140 ephemera items
  • 13,800 magazines titles
  • 18,000 newspaper titles
  • 10,000 news agency photos
  • 640 maps
  • 90 posters


The contents of the Prange Collection once constituted the files of the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD), an operating unit of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (SCAP) Press, Pictorial and Broadcast Division (PPB). Between 1945 and 1949, the CCD was responsible for reviewing all Japanese publications to identify violations of the Code for the Japanese Press. Censorship action (deletions, suppression of entire works and a variety of changes) was taken on a small, but significant, percentage of Prange materials. The Collection contains approximately 600,000 censorship-related documents that accompany the newspapers, magazines and books.

The Prange Collection contains censored materials, including galley proofs of books, newspaper and magazine articles, and manuscripts of books that were either partially censored (with deletions and/or other modifications) or entirely suppressed.

Censored Newspapers and Magazines

Censored newspapers and magazine articles can be located by using the Advanced Search in the 20th Century Media Information Database.  Select "censored or uncensored" in the drop-down menu at the bottom of the Advanced Search page.

Censored Books 

Censored books can be located by doing an Advanced Search in the UMD Libraries Online Catalog. In the "search for words in..." field, select "notes" in a dropdown menu, and enter "検閲" (censored) or "断片"(fragment). Then limit the search by either selecting "Prange Collection" in the "location" field or "Prange" in the "named collection" field.

Click on the links below for inventories of censored books and fragments of books.​ These inventories also include manuscripts and galley proofs, whether they were censored or not.   Some fragments have not been matched with published versions of the books.  The censored materials lists are updated as new materials or information are discovered.

The 18,047 newspaper titles in the Gordon W. Prange Collection constitute the largest collection anywhere, including Japan, of Japanese-language newspapers published during the immediate postwar period.  Within this collection are major dailies such as Asahi Shinbun, Mainichi Shinbun, and Yomiuri Shinbun--including their local editions. The Collection also includes less frequently issued newspapers such as Kumamoto Minyu Shinbun, Nihon Fujin Shinbun (Tokyo), Aoba Shinbun (Miyagi), Yakyujin (Tokyo), and Kanshiki Nyusu (Hyogo), as well as newsletters produced by political parties, labor unions, farming cooperatives, literary societies, educational organizations, and students. The collection also includes 36 titles of wall newspapers (a total of 208 issues), several of which are hand-painted.

Included in the Newspaper Collection are 700,000 pages of news agency dispatches (tsushin) from such agencies as Kyodo and Jiji -- the Japanese counterparts of the Associated Press and the United Press International.

The Censored Newspaper Articles consist of newspaper articles and news agency dispatches that were censored by the CCD. The articles bear censorship markings and are, in most cases, accompanied by an English translation. The articles date primarily from 1947 and 1948 -- with a few articles from 1945, 1946, and 1949 -- and are organized into Local and Foreign news.  Within those two categories, they are arranged chronologically. There are a total of approximately 15,000 articles.

In 1999, the microfilming of the Newspaper Collection was completed.  The following institutions also hold a set of the newspaper microfilm:


NOTE: The newspapers are rapidly deteriorating, so only in rare cases do we provide access to the originals.  However, if there are specific reasons for a request to see the originals (for example, the microfilm is unreadable), please contact us and the Curator will determine whether access will be given.  If you find that the microfilm is unreadable, please send us a photocopy or PDF of the unreadable pages.

The Prange Collection contains 13,799 magazine titles issued during the immediate post-World War II years, 1945-49. These titles include magazines that were published prior to the war and continued into the postwar period, those that were launched during the postwar period and continue to be published today (Sekai is an example) and those with a small circulation that were short-lived. They range from general magazines to technical magazines; from kasutori magazines that were a product of the postwar period to children’s school and science magazines that were intended to lead young minds into a new era.

The Prange Collection magazines have been microfilmed.  The following institutions also hold the full set of microfilms:


NOTE: The magazines are rapidly deteriorating, so only in rare cases do we provide access to the originals. However, if there are specific reasons for a request to see the originals (for example, the microfilm is unreadable), please contact us and the Curator or Manager will determine whether access will be given.  If you find that the microfilm is unreadable, please send us a photocopy or PDF of the unreadable pages.

There are approximately 71,000 book and pamphlet titles in the Prange Collection, including books for adults and children.  The monographs, published during the early post-War years, cover a wide range of subjects, including literature, history, economics, politics, agriculture, law, science and technology, religion, philosophy, and education. Many of the works address issues faced in post-World War II Japan, such as the economic restoration of Japan, extreme inflation, the effect of the new constitution, and the fundamental reform of the old primary and secondary school system. The collection includes works by well-known writers such as Nobel laureate Kawabata Yasunari and Tanizaki Jun'ichiro.

The 8,000 children's books in this collection include picture books, comic books, story books and children's games and coloring books. The collection is an invaluable source for social and cultural history, for the study of popular literature, and for an understanding of Japanese concerns for their children during the postwar period. The children's book collection has been digitized.

In addition to the books, magazines, and newspapers in the Prange Collection, there are many items that were meant to have short-lived use and value.  These ephemera include leaflets, fliers, and meeting minutes that were circulated at schools, factories, hospitals, and stores.  Submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CDD) for review, they became part of an enduring record in the Prange Collection.

The 147 ephemera have been digitized. 

The Prange Collection contains 640 maps of Japan, East Asia and the world. These maps include oversize geographic maps, as well as folded maps of tourist attractions and local products reflecting the social and industrial status of Japan and the world at that time.  A basic inventory for the maps is available onsite. 

The Prange Collection contains approximately 10,000 news agency photographs that were submitted to the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) by Kyodo, Jiji and Sun News Agencies in 1948 and 1949. Each photograph is accompanied by a description in Japanese. 

The following are basic inventories of the news agency photographs:

Miscellaneous English-language reports and documents were shipped to the University of Maryland with the core collection of CCD file copies (magazines, newspapers and books) in 1949 - 1950, The majority of the reports and documents are not unique to the Prange Collection. They can be found elsewhere, including at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Proceedings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE)

The International War Tribunal for the Far East, also known as the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal or Tokyo Trials, was established to prosecute leaders of the Japanese Empire for waging war and crimes against humanity.  The trial convened on April 29, 1946, and adjourned on November 12, 1948.  The transcript of the trial, excluding exhibits and judgments, numbers 48,288 pages.  The Prange Collection has a complete set of the proceedings. 

Access: The Proceedings are available on microfilm in Periodicals on the first floor of McKeldin Library.

British Commonwealth Occupation News (BCON)

BCON was the official all-services newspaper for the British Commonwealth occupation forces in Japan.  Published between 1946 and 1950, it was a daily (Monday - Saturday) distributed free of charge to British, Canadian, New Zealand and other British Commonwealth troops.  The Prange Collection holds 211 issues.  In 1993, the UMD Libraries, the British Library and the Imperial War Museum, which had complementary holdings, microfilmed their respective issues and exchanged copies of the microfilm to complete their runs of the newspaper. 

Access: The microfilm is available in Periodicals on the first floor of McKeldin Library. : BCON [microform]

Other Reports and Documents

  • Summaries prepared by SCAP of non-military activities. 
  • United States Strategic Bombing Survey documents. 
  • Translations of interrogation reports
  • Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS) papers
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